Hunger: The Journey of Tamsen Donner (2008)

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Chamber Opera for soprano, clarinet, horn, harmonicas, guitar, contrabass, and percussion

Premiere: March 2008, The Chapel Performance Space, Seattle, WA, Seattle EXperimental Opera (SExO)

"Powerful. A starkly beautiful, almost unbearably moving chamber opera."  -Paul de Barros, Seattle Times





HUNGER tells the tragic tale of the Donner Party through the eyes of Tamsen Donner, the matriarch of that ill-fated group of pioneers. The Donner family and their fellow travelers were determined to make it to the promised land - the California territory. After struggling across the prairie and the desert, losing most of their oxen and cattle, and nearly dying of thirst, they were convinced to modify their route by a hired guide. They reached the Sierra mountains, just miles from their destination, only to be trapped for months by blinding snow and bitter storms. Many perished. Some survived by resorting to cannibalism. They all experienced unimaginable suffering. The music of Tom Baker and the poetry of Ruth Whitman combine to give a moving account of this journey, told through Tamsen Donner's re-imagined words, thoughts and songs.